Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFChoreutidae Members: 22 NC Records

Prochoreutis inflatella (Clemens, 1863) - Skullcap Skeletonizer Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Choreutoidea Family: ChoreutidaeSubfamily: ChoreutinaeTribe: [Choreutini]P3 Number: 580006.00 MONA Number: 2629.00
Comments: The genus Prochoreutis has around 30 recognized species. Most are found in Eurasia, but five occur in North America.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Heppner (2020)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a small, but distinctively marked species that is easily recognizable. The forewing is dull orange with a dark fuscous area in the middle that is heavily powdered with white scales. The apical third is orange, with two silvery metallic bands and a triangular white mark between them on the costa. The adults are active during the day and are often spotted resting on vegetation or flowers. The detailed description that follows is based on the description by Heppner (2020). The head is shining fuscous with white speckling on the frons. The labial palp is white basally, with alternating bands of fuscous and white on the prominent ventral scale tufts. The antenna has alternating bands of fuscous and white. The thorax is fuscous with white speckling, and has a row of silvery-metallic scales at the posterior margin of the mesonotum. The legs are white proximally, with dark brown on the tibia and dark rings on the tarsi. The forewing is orange at the base and the apical third. The area in between is blackish-fuscous and heavily speckled with white. There are several silvery-iridescent markings, including a partial or complete fascia at the wing base, a curved fascia at two-thirds that borders the fuscous area distally, a subterminal line, and a short streak along the inner margin at about two-thirds. There are three white marks along the costa, including a conspicuous triangular mark at about four-fifths. The fringe is fuscous with white scales distally, and with a subterminal fine line of dark brown scales. The hindwing is fuscous-tan and paler towards the base, with a white and a silvery-iridescent mark near the tornus. The fringe is fuscous except for white along the termen. The abdomen is golden fuscous to light brown, with pale posterior-marginal scales on each tergite.
Wingspan: 7-11 mm (Heppner, 2020)
Adult Structural Features: Heppner (2020) has descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae skeletonize the leaves of skullcaps (Scutellaria spp.) and often feed beneath a leaf fold. Pupation occurs in a fusiform, multi-layered cocoon of white silk. There are two or more generations per year (Heppner, 2020; microleps.org).
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Prochoreutis inflatella is found in eastern North America and northeastern Mexico. The range includes southern Canada (Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec) and much of the eastern US from Maine southward to northern Florida, and westward to eastern Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, eastern Nebraska, and Minnesota. An apparent disjunct occurs in Colorado. As of 2020, our records are mostly from the Piedmont, with a few scattered records from the Coastal Plain and lower elevations in the mountains.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Adults have been recorded from February through November in areas outside of North Carolina, with a seasonal peak from May through September. As of 2020, our records extend from mid-April through early October. Local populations appear to have two or more broods per year in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, but only one in the mountains.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Populations are dependent on species of skullcaps. One of the known host is a wetland species, but other species that grow in woodland settings are likely used.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae are skeletonizers of Skullcaps (Scutellaria). The known hosts include Marsh Skullcap (S. galericulata) at northern latitudes (probably extirpated in North Carolina), and Mad-dog Skullcap (S. lateriflora), which is widespread in North Carolina. Many of our records are from sites that do not support S. lateriflora, which suggests that other Scutellaria are also used. Terry Harrison (microleps.org) reported that the larvae use woodland species of skullcaps in Illinois.
Observation Methods: The adults occasionally visit lights, but are most often spotted either resting on leaves or nectaring on flowers during the day.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This is a regularly encountered species in the Piedmont, but less so elsewhere. Populations appear to be reasonably secure based on the number of observations of this species.

 Photo Gallery for Prochoreutis inflatella - Skullcap Skeletonizer Moth

Photos: 18

Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2021-08-27
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Dunn on 2020-07-25
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Dunn on 2020-07-25
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-06-06
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Nancy Lee Adamson on 2020-04-19
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Nancy Lee Adamson on 2020-04-19
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Nancy Lee Adamson on 2020-04-19
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2019-09-11
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2019-09-11
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2019-07-05
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2019-07-05
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2019-07-05
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Rob Van Epps on 2018-09-05
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-08-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: J.M. Lynch on 2013-04-19
Halifax Co.
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Recorded by: F. Williams on 2012-10-03
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf, B. Bockhahn on 2012-04-11
Halifax Co.
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Recorded by: T. DeSantis, F. Williams on 2009-06-06
Camden Co.
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